Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Badassery-- A Tale of Two Costumes

Tomorrow is Halloween. Not a fan? Dude put on a costume and have some fun.  When else do we get to dress up and play?  Seriously. Have some fun.

As I've said before, I'm not a fan of the creepy stuff. The inside of my anxiety-filled brain is scary enough throughout the year, I don't really need to add to that mess. BUT if you like it, put on that Zombie mask and have some fun.  

Here's what I'm doing this Halloween--it's a tale of two costumes.  Here are the costumes I put together for this grand holiday.

Over the past couple of months I have become seriously addicted to a show that I am slowly binge watching (can you do that slowly?) on Netflix. I am addicted to/obsessed with/super fan of Sons of Anarchy.  The show is full of great writing and characters and music and mega shocking violence and badassery. Watching the show has changed me.  

I feel tougher than I really am.

I want to start wearing a leather jacket and tight jeans.

I want to ride a motorcycle. 

I want to start smoking.

When the family can't decide on something I say "let's take it to the table for a vote." (You only get this if you watch it, but they vote a lot. The uber violent motorcycle club is very democratic.)

I sort of feel like I could kick someone's ass. And I  don't want to take anyone's crap, like ever.

I want more tattoos.

I want to dress up like mean mama Gemma for Halloween.
Ahhhhhh!  I am that weirdo super fan who is dressing up as my favorite character from TV. LOL.  
This picture is supposed to resemble Katy Segal playing Gemma in Sons of Anarchy. Sadly I think I look more my mother circa 1989, all overdyed and overdone (minus the tattoos, my mother never had tattoos).
If you know the character, she had heart surgery and has a scar. In the opening credits she runs her hand across the scar (which sort of looks like a piece of bacon). 
So yeah, I had to recreate it. Ha!
Full disclosure- the cigarette is a plastic straw and the belt is Rufus' chain collar and I wish my hair was really that shiny. 

The mean mama biker chick costume from my favorite scary TV show probably isn't a great costume for my day job. So I decided very last minute to be Princess Leia, a badass in her own way but a little more conservative. I looked on Pinterest for the night before/no sew/DIY Princess Leia costumes.  What I found and what I created turned out a little different.

It's supposed to look like this-- click here to see a really good looking version. Not so much this...

This DIY involved a very old sheet. So old it was going to either be garbage or wait, a costume. 

But it's all good because it's all just for a few laughs anyway.

It's all about the buns hon. I am nothing without the buns,
just a girl in an old sheet.

Get it? Pretend R2D2 is in front of me. Right???

So today I will party with the kiddos as Princess Leia and tonight I will party with the grown ups as my favorite violent TV character. And then tomorrow I will happily pass out candy to all the little trick-or-treaters while I eat a ton of my own candy and drink wine. I LOVE this holiday.

Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

DIY Halloween Craft--A Sort of Pinterest Poser Challenge

I love Halloween. I don't love the scary stuff. But playing dress up and eating a ton of candy? Um yeah, I love those parts.  AND there are these great things about Halloween-- you don't have to question your faith or dig too deep or plan a huge family dinner or worry about who is going to get upset about what or spend a ton of money on gifts.  Costumes and candy. Boosh. It's awesome.

You know what else is awesome? Halloween crafts. I totally dig them. 

For this week's Pinterest Poser Challenge* I made something that has nothing to do with Pinterest. In fact, I got today's craft inspiration from a walk in the woods. 

*In an attempt at not being a Pinterest Poser,** every week-ish I detail a new project/idea/recipe inspired by Pinterest.
**My definition of a Pinterest Poser is someone who is all pins and no substance.

On the trails near my house, there is a nature center. A couple weeks ago that nature center was hosting a Halloween party.  I took my dogs for a walk while the volunteers prepped the trail for their big event. While walking, I stumbled across one of their decorations and fell in love.

Milk Carton Halloween Luminaries! 
What? Yes. 

First of all, we got through a million gallons of milk in one week so getting the milk cartons was absolutely no big deal at all. And paint? Oh yeah I've got paint, and candles and sand.  This craft cost me nothing. Check it out.

First I rinsed the milk cartons and then Wade and I painted them with somewhat Halloween-ish stuff. I then cut a square out of the side of the carton.

Then we grabbed some sand from the sandbox and found some candles we had around the house.

We lit them last night for a test run on the sidewalk leading up to our porch and think they look great.
This project is fun and also pretty practical. I love how our sidewalk will be lit for trick-or-treaters on Halloween night.

Simple, fun, creative and cheap--totally my kind of craft.

We also painted pumpkins and carved them and hung paper pumpkins I found at the dollar store.

Look at Wade taking a picture of the happy creative scene with my phone. Love it! 

This is the first year Lucy designed and carved her own pumpkin. How cool is that?

Halloween is just such a holiday.It's all lights and creativity and make-up and make-believe and design and candy and fun.(I know there's the scary stuff, but I don't do scary so I focus on the fun make believe.) 

Have you made anything inspired by Pinterest lately? Are you ready for Halloween? Got any favorite Fall crafts? Let me know in the comments or over on my Facebook page.

Here are some of the Pinterest projects I've done/made/attempted:

Fall DIY (Painted Acorns)- click here
Kale Smoothie- click here
Power Tools- click here
Painting Sticks- click here
Homemade Pesto- click here
DIY Map Craft- click here
Homemade Chalk Paint- click here
A Flower Crown- click here
The Rainbow Challenge- click here
DIY Trundle Bed- Click here
DIY Artemis Costume- click here
Taking Pictures of Your Kids- click here
Gluten Free Pretzels- click here
Cinnamon Sugar Doughballs- click here
Painted Lockers- click here
Melted Beads- DIY Suncatcher- click here
Tissue Paper Pom Pom Garland-- click here
A Delightfully Simple Birthday Party--click here
Make An Awesome Omelet--click here
Outdoor Lights Inspired by the show Parenthood- click here
Herb Garden with Chalkboard Pots- click here
Backyard Graffiti Art with kids- click here
Happiness Notecards- click here
Gluten Free Rainbow Cake- click here
Fruit Roll-Up Fortune Cookies- click here
Make Your Own Magnets- click here
DIY Painted Clay Necklace- click here
Dixie Cup Lights- click here
DIY Ornaments-click here
Gluten Free Clay- click here
Make Your Own Stamps- click here
Birthday Shirt- click here
Gluten Free Pop Tarts- click here
Front Porch Kid Art Display- click here
Door turned into Table- click here
Summer Wish List Chalkboard-click here
Peanut Butter Nutella Cookie Sandwiches-click here
Painted Mason Jar Vases-click here
Cinco de Mayo Paper Flowers- click here
Earth Day Cupcakes- Click here
Nail Art-click here
Homemade Photo Booth Fun- click here
Fake Bangs- click here
DIY Subway Art- click here
Furniture Painting and Bench/Chest Makeover- click here
Thanksgiving-y Project/Gratitude/Holiday Countdown- click here
The Smoothie-click here
The Free Printable Turned Artwork in a Boring Hallway- click here
The chalk board-click here
Seven Layer Dip in Individual Cups (my favorite so far!)-click here
The pumpkin address-click here
The Kitchen Dancing Sign--click here

Monday, October 26, 2015

Time Capsules/Treasures

Yesterday was picture day. Well at least it was for a fast and furious fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes that was filled with yelling and screaming and laughing and wrestling and joking and silliness and a little more yelling AND FINALLY a few decent pictures.

I've had an annual Youngblood Kid Picture Day every October for the past six years. It goes like this...I force the kids to wear decent looking clothes and stand next to each other in front of a Fall-ish looking back drop and take a few pictures.  I promise them I won't make them do something like this for a whole year and sometimes throw in a promise of candy and treats/bribes.  

I take these pictures because I love having sort of a benchmark of their growth from year to year. I take these pictures because I love all of them madly even if I yell a lot while taking the pictures.  I take these pictures because it is just one of the 5,467 traditions that we do as a family.  I take these pictures because time, man, it's going fast and each October I love capturing their faces and their expressions and their squinty blue eyes and giant smiles and messy hair and the way they always end up hanging on each other or hugging each other.  These pictures are my time capsules.

This past summer on our epic road trip, I rediscovered a deep love for Jim Croce songs.  Time In A Bottle is not my favorite musically because I think it sounds sort of creepy. BUT the lyrics! Take out the creepy/haunting music and listen-- If I could make days last forever...I'd save every day like a treasure. Well, these pictures are my treasures. 

These pictures are circa 2011 (taken on a cheapo digital cam).
My babies!!!!!!!!! 

This year I got to take my fancy-not-new-anymore-but-still-not-sure-how-to-use-all-the-features camera and take the pictures.  I got to capture the sweet faces, the silliness, the mayhem and the love.

We added the dogs this year just to make it a little
more mayhem-y.

There were too many leaves not to throw them at each other.

We don't go anywhere without a football, duh.

This year we sort of rushed the photo shoot in between games, the cable guy coming to fix the line, youth group and homework. It felt a little more chaotic than in past years, but it was fun.

And I finally got a shot that I LOVE.  Here is the Treasure/Time Capsule of the loves of my life for 2015.

Check out some other pictures I've taken 
with my Fancy New Camera:

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Self Care Zone and What I Know For Sure

"I just want to try and get seven to eight hours a sleep a night, go see a matinee every once in a while, get a little fat and maybe jog a 5-K for charity," I told my brother on the phone yesterday.

We laughed about how I sounded like a super old lady. I am not super old. I'm 41. According to an article I read on Facebook the other day I am supposed to be enjoying a second prime right now. All I know for sure right now is that I'm pretty tired. Mostly really happy but definitely tired.

It's so funny because just a couple years ago when I was 39 and getting ready to turn 40 I was full of "I'm going to do this! and that and be a better me and kind of amazing and I love myself and the world and I'm going to run a marathon and travel and learn to sew and be more amazing!"  I wouldn't say I'm there anymore and it's not the worst thing in the world. 

Now I just simply value balance or at least trying to have a little of it now and then. I want to slow down parts of my life which means I have to start saying no to some things. I want to enjoy moments with the kids when they aren't embarassed by me or rolling their eyes at something I say. I want to be healthy and watch what I eat but I also want to eat dessert and drink wine. I value sleep more than ever before. I wake up a few mornings a week and work out in my basement before the kids get up and before I go to work. When I can, I go for runs outside. I do those things more for peace of mind than losing weight.

This picture make me look huge, sort of larger than life. 
Every other morning I drag my tired butt out of bed to move my body. I work out to wake up and get healthier and stronger. I make room between the ping pong table and piles of laundry to work it ALL out. I use my shadow to check my form. And even though I'm tired, I always feel better after I do this.

On my days off I am intentional about doing small things that make me happy, like sitting on the porch and reading a chapter of my book or watching a documentary on Netflix (like this one about Iris Apfel) or going to a matinee.  

I think there's a name for what I'm doing...self care.  It's kind of a hot topic/buzz word/trend right now, one that I totally support. I struggled to get on board with the whole quinoa trend and the hot yoga trend, but self care? Yeah, I'm in that zone right now.

Maybe in a couple weeks, months or years I will be all "I'm going to do this! and that and be a better me and kind of amazing and I'm going to do great things!" again. But for now I am slowing down where I can, taking care of my family and myself and searching for more balance and it's all pretty good, I know that for sure.

Here's what else I know for sure right now:
  • Matinees are the best. Last week in support of the Self Care Zone, I went to see a movie at 10 a.m. in the morning. Whaaaat? Yup. Then I vlogged about it. Check it out if you missed it.

(Click here to watch the video.)

  • Going to the grocery store at 7 a.m. on a Sunday is a good time to go. Lots of carts and no lines! I mean it's early, but it's kind of nice and peaceful.

  • In the name of balance, I am totally digging working part time. I love having Tuesdays and Thursdays off. I love it so much I want to have a T-shirt made that expresses how much I love Tuesdays and Thursdays.

  • Tim and I are still completely and totally obsessed with the show Sons of Anarchy on Netflix. We are almost half way through the second to last season. It's so violent and horrifying and amazing.

  • I LOVE this song. I'm a little embarrassed because it's by a Jonas brother and I publicly liked another song by another Jonas brother last week. I mean there's nothing wrong with Jonas brothers, it just seems funny to me. But I can't deny loving this silly song.

(Click here to watch the video and dance.)

  • I am not regretting putting the Foosball table in our dining room. The boys play almost every morning before school. It's awesome. 

What do YOU know for sure this week? How do you find balance? Tell me here or over on my Facebook page. And if you want, subscribe to my YouTube channel and come play with me on Instagram.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Renewing All The Vows

Last Sunday, Tim and I stood in front of the congregation in church and laughed our way through our vows. Just like we did over 15 years ago. Vowing to love each other forever and ever and ever.

When we decided to get married all those years ago we just sort of jumped in full of love and cluelessness. We were driven by hope and passion and that all-in kind of love. We dreamed of a big family and traditions and having fun and being together forever. But we were clueless about how exhausting it can all be and how marriage can be tricky and getting older is weird and that jobs just don't get offered and money is always an issue, always. We were clueless that parenting teenagers would involve all this damn phone/texting/instagramming bullshit. We were clueless about how being a parent makes you feel worried about so much and feel so god damn vulnerable. We were clueless about how fast it all goes.  

Last Saturday night Tim and I were in the middle of our normal weekend miscommunication that leads to a fight and mean text messages sent back and forth and then apologies and "we didn't mean it we are just so tired" explanations. It's become just what we do every weekend. It's not a great thing but we have kind of gotten into a rut. We haven't been on a date night since last January. Yeah, almost a year. And we are both really tired and possibly a bit cranky.

After looking at our schedules, we realized we didn't have anywhere to be the next day until 1 p.m. A free morning with everyone home is pretty unheard of around here, so Tim and I were psyched.  

"Can we please go to church tomorrow?," asked Lucy.

"Yeah, let's go," chimed in Peyton.

Tim and I looked at each other nervously. We haven't been to church in a while. "Um, you know we have to go if our kids are asking us to go to church, we have to go," Tim whispered. I knew he was right and it wasn't that I didn't want to go, I just wanted to be together and do nothing more.

That's how we found ourselves in front of the congregation renewing our vows. Turns out our church was honoring marriages that were celebrating five year increments, you know five, 10, 15, 20 and so on and so on. The minister asked the anniversary couples up to the front of the church. Tim and I were the youngest couple there. Whaaat? We joined friends of mine that I volunteer with every summer during Vacation Bible School, Tom and Jan, who were celebrating their 50th. There were couples celebrating 40 years, 30 years and then us, 15. Together we all said our vows aloud as we looked at our respective spouses.  

When I held Tim's hands and looked into his eyes I started laughing and he smiled. It was just like it had been 15 years ago. Except we are older and way more tired and wrinkled and vulnerable. But we are also sort of dumbfounded that so many of our dreams have come true. We have the big family and the traditions and love that goes on forever and ever and ever. We are a little bit less clueless but still hopeful.

Staring at him all these years later and looking down the aisle and seeing couples that have been through so much more and loved longer I felt inspired. Then I looked up to smile at our kids in the pews only to see Lucy on her phone. Cursing technology (in my head) I took a vow to not let technology crush our dreams, or exhaustion or lack of date nights, or being too busy for traditions, or Saturday night fights.

After church we headed straight to the pumpkin patch for our annual pumpkin picking and hayride tradition.

Yup, Lucy had her phone because duh. 

I jumped in the picture because we had just come from our impromptu vow renewal and we were feeling all romantic and inspired.

The loves of my life and my dream come true. Seriously.

And then we went straight to Wade's flag football game because it's not a weekend in October without someone playing a football game.

After the game, we all went to the annual Halloween Hoopla hosted by my in-laws. My in-laws are an amazing example of love and marriage and family and being there and having fun.  

These Star Wars costumes make it look like it's 1982 all over again. And I love it.
Grandma goes all out every year. 

I promise stuff doesn't have to be all complicated and expensive and involve a have a blast playing pop the balloon.

And painting pumpkins.

We are actually kind of constantly renewing our vows, our beliefs and our dreams and our love. Each tradition, each family dinner, each holiday party, each game where we go to cheer each other on, we are renewing all of it. All the love, all the hope, all the dreams.

And it turns out Lucy wasn't playing on her phone in church after all, she was taking pictures of our vow renewal. There's hope!